History of the New York Giants (1994–present)


History of the New York Giants (1994–present)

The New York Giants, an American football team which currently plays in the NFL's National Football Conference, have qualified for the postseason six times since 1994. With the retirement of two of their most important figures of the 1980s and early 1990s after the 1993 season, namely Phil Simms and Lawrence Taylor, the Giants entered a new era.

After a successful 1993 season, the Giants struggled under head coach Dan Reeves, and failed to reach the postseason for three consecutive seasons. With the hiring of Jim Fassel as the team's new head coach in 1997, the Giants fortunes improved and they made the playoffs several times. Led by free agent acquisition quarterback Kerry Collins, the Fassel era included an appearance in Super Bowl XXXV, where they lost to the Baltimore Ravens. Although there was success, the Fassel era was also marked by inconsistency, and he was fired during the 2003 season.

Fassel was replaced by current coach Tom Coughlin who has coached the team since 2004, also to inconsistent results and media scrutiny. The Giants acquired their current starting quarterback Eli Manning via a draft day trade from the San Diego Chargers. Manning had been the quarterback at University of Mississippi, and was the first pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. During this period standout Giants players include defensive end Michael Strahan, who set the NFL single season record in sacks in 2001, and running back Tiki Barber, who set a team record in rushing yards in 2005. As of 2007, the Giants have made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons.

New era: 1994-96

After finishing 11–5 and reaching the second round of the playoffs in 1993, the Giants took a step backwards in 1994. Phil Simms and Lawrence Taylor, the two biggest figures of the late 1980s and early 1990s Giants teams retired. In the wake of Simms' retirement, head coach Dan Reeves named Dave Brown, who had been a No. 1 supplemental draft choice in 1992, as the Giants' new starting quarterback. Though Brown led the Giants to wins in their first three games of the season, [http://www.databasefootball.com/teams/teamyear.htm?tm=NYG&lg=nfl&yr=1994 1994 New York Giants] , databasefootball.com, accessed March 20, 2007. ] the Giants lost their next 7 in a row to drop to 3–7. The poor play of Brown received much of the blame from fans and the media. [Berkow, Ira. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9500E0D9143FF936A15753C1A962958260 Sports of The Times; Brown Hopes To Wear Out Giant Fans] , "The New York Times", October 25, 1994, accessed March 22, 2008. ] However, the Giants recovered and won their last six games of the season. During this stretch they never allowed more than 20 points in a game, and the Giants finished the season with a record of 9–7. [http://databasefootball.com/teams/teampage.htm?tm=NYG&lg=nfl New York Giants (1925 - )] , databasefootball.com, accessed March 17, 2007. ] The team's stars included Rodney Hampton, who had his 4th straight 1,000 yard rushing season; [ [http://www.databasefootball.com/players/playerpage.htm?ilkid=HAMPTROD01 Rodney Hampton] , databasefootball.com, accessed March 20, 2007. ] second-year defensive lineman Michael Strahan, and linebackers Jessie Armstead and Michael Brooks.

In 1995 the team regressed, and finished the season with a 5–11 record, [http://www.databasefootball.com/teams/teamyear.htm?tm=NYG&lg=nfl&yr=1995 1995 New York Giants] , databasefootball.com, accessed March 20, 2007. ] their worst since Bill Parcells' first season in 1983. Quarterback Dave Brown had a particularly disappointing season, as he finished with just 2,814 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season. Particular lowlights of the season were a 35–0 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the Monday Night season opener, [http://www.sportsecyclopedia.com/nfl/nyg/nygiants.html History of the New York Giants] www.sportsecyclopedia.com, accessed September 12, 2006. ] and the fans pelting the Chargers with snowballs in a late–season game. [Sandomir, Richard. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B06EFD61539F934A15751C1A963958260 PRO FOOTBALL;Giants Will Confiscate Season Tickets] , "The New York Times", December 27, 1995, accessed March 22, 2008. ] Though the defense still played well, the Giants sent no players to the Pro Bowl for the second straight year. [ [http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/nyg1995.htm 1995 New York Giants] , pro-football-reference.com, accessed March 22, 2007. ]

The Giants suffered through yet another poor season in 1996, finishing 6–10. Though Brown again started every game for the Giants he turned in one of the worst seasons of any starting quarterback in the league that year, throwing for only 12 touchdowns against 20 interceptions. [ [http://www.databasefootball.com/players/playerpage.htm?ilkid=BROWNDAV05 Dave Brown] , databasefootball.com, accessed March 18, 2007. ] The Giants offense was one of the worst in the NFL and, unlike in previous years, the defense was unable to keep the offense afloat. After having only one playoff appearance in 4 seasons, Reeves was dismissed after the 1996 season. [Anderson, Dave. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C04E0DE1331F931A15751C1A960958260 'It Hasn't Worked Out' For Reeves] , "New York Times", December 22, 1996, accessed March 22, 2008. ]

Jim Fassel era

1997-1999

The Giants hired Jim Fassel to replace Reeves before the 1997 season. Fassel had previously been the offensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos. After an opening day win against Philadelphia the Giants lost their next three games, [http://www.databasefootball.com/teams/teamyear.htm?tm=NYG&lg=nfl&yr=1997 1997 New York Giants] , accessed databasefootball.com, accessed March 18, 2007. ] including close losses to the Baltimore Ravens and St. Louis Rams. The Giants then won their next 5 games in a row. One of Fassel's biggest decisions during this streak was to replace Brown at quarterback with a young Danny Kanell. Behind Kanell's steady play and a solid, turnover producing defense led by cornerback Jason Sehorn, linebacker Jessie Armstead and end Michael Strahan the Giants reversed their 1-3 start to finish the season at 10–5–1, and win the Eastern Division for the first time since 1990. In the first round, the Giants struggled in the 4th quarter, and the Vikings kicked a late field goal to defeat them, 23–22. After the 1997 season, General manager George Young, who had helped build the Giants into a championship team in the 1980s, left the Giants to take a job in the NFL front office. He was replaced by Ernie Accorsi, a well–respected, veteran General Manager who had successful stints building the Baltimore Colts and Cleveland Browns. [Mizell, Hubert. [http://www.sptimes.com/News/012201/SuperBowl2001/Don_t_mistake_where_A.shtml Don’t mistake where Accorsi’s rooting interest is] , "St. Petersburg Times", January 22, 2001, accessed March 20, 2007. ]

In 1998, the Giants were unable to build on their successful 1997 season, and needed a four game winning streak to close out the season at 8-8. The Giants strength was their defense, which featured two Pro Bowlers in Armstead and Strahan. [ [http://pro-football-reference.com/teams/nyg1998.htm 1998 New York Giants] , pro-football-reference.com, accessed March 21, 2007. ] However, the offense continued to be a disappointment. Brown had finally been jettisoned and replaced by Kanell and Kent Graham. However, neither quarterback provided Pro Bowl caliber play, although Graham led the Giants to a 5-1 finish (including an upset of the then-undefeated Denver Broncos in Week 15).

Before the 1999 season the Giants signed quarterback Kerry Collins. Collins had been the first–ever draft choice of the expansion Carolina Panthers and in his second season led the Panthers to the NFC Championship game. However, problems with alcohol, conflicts with his teammates and questions about his character led to his release from the Panthers.King, Peter. [http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/inside_game/peter_king/news/2001/01/22/king_collins/ Renewed and revitalized at 28, Collins finally comes clean] , sportsillustrated.cnn.com, January 22, 2001, accessed March 21, 2007. ] Mike Ditka, coach of the New Orleans Saints signed him shortly after his release; however the experiment failed and shortly thereafter Collins was released again. Although many people, including "Sports Illustrated" football beat writer Peter King seriously questioned the wisdom of Accorsi and the Giants giving Collins a $16.9 million contract,Pompei, Dan. [http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1208/is_10_223/ai_54117608 Collins is a low–risk signing for the QB–starved Giants—Kerry Collins signs with New York Giants; Nolan Harrison; related NFL news] , "The Sporting News", March 8, 1999, accessed March 20, 2007. ] especially when there was little interest for Collins's services league-wide, Accorsi was confident that Collins was a wise investment.

The 1999 season featured many strong individual performances by the Giants, especially on offense. Receiver Amani Toomer had a breakout season, accumulating over 1100 yards receiving and 6 touchdowns. [http://www.databasefootball.com/teams/teamyear.htm?tm=NYG&lg=nfl&yr=1999 1999 New York Giants] , accessed March 18, 2007. ] Fellow receiver Ike Hilliard also had a solid season, finishing just shy of 1000 yards receiving on the year. Tight end Pete Mitchell contributed 58 receptions, and Tiki Barber emerged as a premiere pass–catching running back, catching 66 passes on the year. The defense was also solid, ranking 11th in the league and sending Armstead and Strahan to the Pro Bowl again. Though the Giants stood at 7–6 after 13 games, they lost their final three games of the season to miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

2000: Super Bowl season

The 2000 season was considered a make–or–break season for Fassel. Like his predecessor, Dan Reeves, Fassel had enjoyed great success in his first year, but disappointment in the following two seasons. The conventional wisdom was that Fassel needed to have a strong year and a playoff appearance to retain his job. The Giants' big draft acquisition was running back Ron Dayne, Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before the draft the team was debating whether to select Dayne or Shaun Alexander. [Pennington, Bill. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940CE5DB123EF931A25757C0A9669C8B63 PRO FOOTBALL; Giants Might Choose Between Alexander and Dayne] , "The New York Times", April 12, 2000, accessed March 22, 2008. ] The plan for Dayne was that the power running style he had at Wisconsin would combine nicely with Barber's speed and pass–catching ability. The two were called the Giants "Thunder and Lightning" backfield.

Behind the running of Barber and to a lesser extent Dayne, the Giants got out to a fast start - winning three of their four games in both September and October. After back–to–back November losses at home against St. Louis and Detroit dropped them to 7–4 [http://pro-football-reference.com/teams/nyg2000.htm 2000 New York Giants] , databasefootball.com, accessed March 21, 2007. ] the Giants playoff prospects were in question. In what would be his defining moment as Giants head coach, at a press conference following the Giants' loss to Detroit, Fassel guaranteed that "This team is going to the playoffs." The Giants responded, winning the next week's game against Arizona and the rest of their regular season games to finish the season 12–4 and earn a bye as the NFC's top seed.

The Giants won their first playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles, 20–10. In the NFC Championship game faced the Minnesota Vikings, who were appearing in their second NFC Championship game in 3 seasons. Many people predicted that the Vikings and their high powered offense, led by Daunte Culpepper and receivers Randy Moss and Cris Carter would defeat the Giants and go on to the Super Bowl. However, the Giants dominated from the very beginning, jumping out to a 14–0 lead in the game's first moments and ultimately winning, 41–0. The win marked the second time the Giants had won a Conference Championship in their home stadium by shutout. After the game Giants co-owner Wellington Mara delivered his famous "worst team ever" speech: [Wilner, Barry. [http://www.usatoday.com/sports/nfl/games/game09.htm Giants pound Vikings into submission] , "USA Today", January 21, 2001, accessed March 21, 2007. ] Cquote|This team was referred to as the worst team ever to win the home–field advantage in the National Football League. And today, on our field of painted mud, we proved we're the worst team ever to win the NFC championship. In two weeks, we're going to try to become the worst team ever to win the Super Bowl.

Though the Giants kept the game close in the first half, and went into halftime down only 10–0, the Ravens thoroughly dominated the second half. The Ravens defense (and specifically MVP Ray Lewis) frustrated Kerry Collins all game long, resulting in Collins turning in one of the worst playoff performances in Super Bowl history. Collins completed only 15 of 39 passes for 112 yards and 4 interceptions. [ [http://www.superbowl.com/history/recaps/game/sbxxxv Super Bowl XXXV Summary] , NFL.com/history, accessed March 29, 2007. ]

The Ravens won the game 34–7 in one of the most lopsided Super Bowls ever. The only Giants score came on a Ron Dixon kickoff return for a touchdown. On the very next kickoff, the Ravens countered as Jermaine Lewis also returned a kickoff for a touchdown. Not only was this the only time this had occurred in Super Bowl history, it was one of the few times it had occurred in NFL history.

2001-2003

The Giants were unable to build on their Super Bowl success in 2001, finishing the season 7–9 [http://www.databasefootball.com/teams/teamyear.htm?tm=NYG&lg=nfl&yr=2001 2001 New York Giants] , databasefootball.com, accessed March 20, 2007. ] and out of the playoffs for the third time in four seasons. Kerry Collins continued to have success as the Giants' starting quarterback, throwing for over 3,700 yards and 19 TD's. Tiki Barber finished as the Giants leading rusher again, while tying Amani Toomer for the team lead with 72 receptions. But the standout player of the Giants 2001 season was Michael Strahan. Strahan set an NFL record by recording 22.5 sacks during the season,Associated Press. [http://espn.go.com/nfl/news/2002/0106/1306705.html Strahan breaks Gastineau's 17–year–old record] , espn.com, January, 2001, accessed March 22, 2007. ] and won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award. He broke the 17 year old NFL record previously held by Mark Gastineau.

The 2002 season saw the arrival of tight end Jeremy Shockey from the University of Miami who provided Kerry Collins with yet another target. Collins would enjoy one of his best seasons as a pro in 2002, throwing for over 4,000 yards. [http://databasefootball.com/teams/teamyear.htm?tm=NYG&lg=nfl&yr=2002 2002 New York Giants] , databasefootball.com, accessed March 17, 2007. ] Tiki Barber had his best season to date, rushing for 1386 yards and also catching 69 passes for 597 yards. The Giants started the season at 6–6 but won their last 4 games to finish the year 10–6, and secure a first–round playoff game against the NFC West champion San Francisco 49ers.

The Giants controlled the 49ers throughout the game, and with 4 minutes left in the 3rd quarter held a seemingly insurmountable 38-14 lead.Associated Press. [http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/recapPlayoff2002?gameId=230105025 Garcia, 49ers erase 24-point deficit] , espn.com, January 5, 2003, accessed March 22, 2007. ] The 49ers rallied however, scoring a field goal and three touchdowns—two on Jeff Garcia touchdown passes, one on a Garcia 14–yard touchdown run, and two two–point conversions made by Terrell Owens—which ultimately gave the 49ers a 39-38 lead with a minute to go. Collins then quickly drove the Giants down to the 49ers 23–yard line with six seconds to play, setting up a 41–yard potential game-winning field goal attempt by Matt Bryant. However, Bryant never got an opportunity to make the kick. 40–year–old long snapper Trey Junkin—who had been signed out of retirement solely for this playoff game—snapped the ball low and punter Matt Allen could not spot the ball properly for the attempt. With no other options, Allen threw it downfield to offensive lineman Rich Seubert. The Giants were penalized for an illegal man downfield (Seubert), and the game was over. However, after the game, the NFL recognized that San Francisco should have been penalized on that play as well for pass interference. This would have created offsetting penalties and given New York a chance to kick again. After the game a devastated Junkin said "I cost 58 guys a chance to go to the Super Bowl. I'd give anything in the world, except my family at this point, right now to still be retired."

The loss was Fassel's second devastating playoff loss in three postseason appearances. The special teams blunder in San Francisco seemed to carry over into the next season, as the Giants started out the 2003 season 4–4, but special teams miscues were the difference between 4-4 and 6-2. In their week two matchup with the Dallas Cowboys, kicker Matt Byrant kicked the ball out of bounds with :11 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, giving Dallas the ball at their own 40 yard line. The Cowboys - down by 3 with no timeouts - drove into Giants territory and kicked a FG that sent the game into overtime, and eventually won the game with another FG 35-32. Five weeks later against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Giants were ahead 10-7 with less than two minutes remaining in the game, and punted the ball away from the Eagle 46-yard-line, only to allow returner Brian Westbrook to score on an 86 yard return that put the Eagles ahead to stay 14-10. After an unconvincing win against the New York Jets in overtime week 8, the Giants were blown out 27-7 by an Atlanta Falcons team that was without star QB Michael Vick, and was the turning point of the Giants season. They would lose all their remaining games to finish 4–12. [http://databasefootball.com/teams/teamyear.htm?tm=NYG&lg=nfl&yr=2003 2003 New York Giants] , databasefootball.com, accessed March 17, 2007. ] This included 7 consecutive losses in the second half of the season, in which the Giants failed to score more than 13 points. With two games remaining in the season, Fassel requested a meeting with team management, and asked, if he was to be fired, that they do so now rather than wait until the end of the season. [Associated Press. [http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=1688484 Fassel wants another coaching job] , December 19, 2003, accessed March 23, 2007. ] Management complied with his request, and formally fired Fassel on (or around) Dec. 17, 2003. However in an unusual turn of events, the Giants agreed to allow him coach the team for the remainder of the season so long as Fassel assured them that the team would not "quit" on him.

Eli Manning era: 2004-present

Eli Manning arrives

After a brief search, Ernie Accorsi hired Tom Coughlin, a one-time assistant of former Giants' coach Bill Parcells, to be the Giants new Head Coach. Coughlin had been the inaugural head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and led them to the AFC championship game twice. He became the 16th head coach in franchise history. [http://www.giants.com/history/TeamHistory.html History of the New York Giants] , giants.com/history, accessed May 24, 2007. ] His stark, disciplinarian methods contrasted with the lax style employed by the departed Fassel. [Pennington, Bill. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C03E3DA1031F934A35752C0A9629C8B63 PRO FOOTBALL; A Strict Colonel Tom Is What's Necessary] , "The New York Times", January 7, 2004, accessed March 22, 2008.
* [http://story.scout.com/a.z?s=123&p=2&c=213726 NYG Team Report] , scout.com, December 16, 2003, accessed May 24, 2007.
] The Giants decided that their primary need was a franchise quarterback. Accorsi—who had coveted John Elway when he was Colts general manager in 1983—saw University of Mississippi quarterback Eli Manning as a similar talent. Manning's brother Peyton, and his father Archie, had already established successful careers as NFL quarterbacks. Though Accorsi wanted Manning badly, and Manning wanted to play in New York, Accorsi was unable to reach a deal to trade up to acquire him with the San Diego Chargers, who subsequently used the first pick on Manning.

Manning had indicated before the draft that he did not want to play for the ChargersMagee, Jerry. [http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/chargers/20050921-9999-1s21manning1.html Nothing personal, San Diego; Eli Manning just didn't want to be a Charger] , "San Diego Union-Tribune", September 21, 2005, accessed March 21, 2007. ] and clearly appeared unhappy when selected by them. Shortly after the pick was made, Chargers general manager AJ Smith called Accorsi to make a deal. Part of the deal was that the Giants would select quarterback Philip Rivers out of North Carolina State University with the #4 pick overall and trade that pick, plus other selections (including the Giants #1 pick the following year), to the Chargers for Manning's rights and additional considerations. When the trade was announced, the crowd in attendance at the draft (which was held in New York) cheered loudly.

When Kerry Collins made it known that he did not want to stay with the Giants until they eventually demoted him for Manning, the Giants released Collins. They later signed quarterback Kurt Warner, to serve as the interim quarterback until Manning was deemed ready to play. [Zinser, Lynn. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E07E4D9103CF931A25756C0A9629C8B63 FOOTBALL; Giants Check Out Warner. Warner Checks Out Giants.] , "The New York Times", May 12, 2004, accessed March 22, 2008. ] Warner had led the St. Louis Rams to two Super Bowls, winning one of them. However, Warner had been affected by injuries, specifically a broken hand, which reduced his effectiveness and led to his release by the Rams.

2004

After losing the season opener, the Giants, behind Warner, went on to win 5 of their next 6 games to stand at 5–2. [http://www.databasefootball.com/teams/teamyear.htm?tm=NYG&lg=nfl&yr=2004 2004 New York Giants] , databasefootball.com, accessed March 21, 2007. ] The Giants then lost two close games, to the Bears and Cardinals, to drop to 5–4. It was at this point that Coughlin announced that Eli Manning would become the starter for the rest of the season. Manning struggled in his first 4 starts, and the Giants did not score more than 14 points in any game. However, they played better in narrow losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals. The Giants won their final game of the year against rival Dallas, to finish the season 6–10. Top performers on the season included Tiki Barber who established a personal career high in rushing yardage with 1,518 yards and also contributed 52 catches and 15 touchdowns. Following the season Ron Dayne was released. Dayne had experienced several mediocre seasons while Shaun Alexander, who the Giants bypassed to draft Dayne, had developed into a consistent Pro Bowler.

2005: NFC East Champions again

The Giants won their first two games of the 2005 season, 42–19, against the Arizona Cardinals and 27–10, against the New Orleans Saints. [http://www.databasefootball.com/teams/teamyear.htm?tm=NYG&lg=NFL&yr=2005 2005 New York Giants] , databasefootball.com, accessed March 16, 2007. ] The Giants lost to the Chargers the following week, 45–23, in a game which was marked by Chargers fans booing and jeering Eli Manning. They rebounded the following week, beating the St. Louis Rams by a score of 44–24.

On October 25, 2005, Giants patriarch Wellington Mara died at the age of 89. [Goldstein, Richard. [http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/26/sports/football/26mara.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5090&en=49d8f1309ac476c1&ex=1287982800 Wellington Mara, the Patriarch of the N.F.L., Dies at 89] , "The New York Times", October 26, 2005, accessed April 17, 2007. ] Mara had been involved with the Giants since he was 9 years old, when he was a ball boy for the Giants. The Giants dedicated their next game to Mara, and shut out the Washington Redskins 36–0. Just twenty days after Mara's death, on November 15, 2005, the other Giants Executive Officer and well-known businessman Preston Robert Tisch died at the age of 79. The Giants then lost 24–21 to the Seahawks when kicker Josh Brown kicked a 36–yard game-winning field goal.Associated Press. [http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/recap?gameId=251127026 Three missed FGs doom Giants in OT loss to Seahawks] , espn.com, November 27, 2005, accessed March 21, 2007. ] They then defeated the Cowboys 17–10.Associated Press. [http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/recap?gameId=251204019 Giants alone atop NFC East after narrow win vs. 'Boys] , December 4, 2005, accessed March 21, 2007. ] The Giants defense made opposing QB Drew Bledsoe go 15 of 39 for 146 yards with only one touchdown pass and two interceptions. On December 17, 2005, in their 27-17 home victory against the Kansas City Chiefs, Tiki Barber set the team's single game rushing yard record with 220 yards, breaking the previous record of 218 yards, which had been set by Gene Roberts on November 12, 1950. [Associated Press. [http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/recap?gameId=251217019 Tiki torches Chiefs in Giants' win] , December 17, 2005, accessed March 21, 2007. ]

The Giants won the NFC East title for the first time since 2000 with a 30–21 win against the Oakland Raiders in the final game of the season. The Giants lost 23–0 to the Carolina Panthers in the first round of the playoffs however. The 2005 Giants had five pro bowlers, including Barber (who set a team record in rushing yards during the season [ [http://www.nfl.com/teams/story/NYG/9978807 Tiki Barber plans to stay busy after retirement] , NFL.com, accessed March 22, 2007. ] ), Shockey, Strahan, Defensive End Osi Umenyiora, and Special teamer David Tyree. [http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/nyg2005.htm 2005 New York Giants] , pro-football-reference.com, accessed March 21, 2007. ]

During the season it was also announced that the New York Giants, New York Jets and the New Jersey Sports and Exhibition Authority had reached an agreement where both teams will work together to build a new stadium adjacent to the current Giants Stadium.

2006

The Giants regressed to an 8–8 season in 2006.New York City Sports Commission. [http://www.ci.nyc.ny.us/html/sports/html/giants_history.html Giants History] , ci.nyc.ny.us, accessed May 24, 2007. ] The season featured inconsistent play, criticism of the coaching by the media and players, and inconsistent play from Manning. [Branch, John. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F01E2DF1030F937A25752C0A9619C8B63&n PRO FOOTBALL; After All That Turmoil, the Giants Now Seem Likely to Stay the Course] , "The New York Times", January 14, 2007, accessed March 22, 2008. ] The Giants won five consecutive games following a 1–2 start [http://scores.espn.go.com/nfl/teams/schedule?team=nyg 2006 New York Giants Schedule] , espn.com, accessed March 21, 2007. ] to gain a two-game advantage in the NFC Eastern Division, but then key injuries to the offense and defense took their toll. Frustrations with the lack of production and with head coach Tom Coughlin began to surface as the Giants lost six of eight in the second half the season. The most disappointing loss of the season was a 24–21 defeat to Tennessee, in which the team surrendered a 21-point fourth-quarter advantage. Following a season-ending win at Washington, the Giants claimed a wildcard berth in the NFC playoffs, but were defeated in the first round by Philadelphia.

Tiki Barber led the Giants with 1,662 yards and over 2,000 yards from scrimmage, [ [http://scores.espn.go.com/nfl/players/profile?statsId=3937 Tiki Barber] , espn.com, accessed March 21, 2007. ] Eli Manning threw for 3,244 yards and 24 touchdowns [http://scores.espn.go.com/nfl/teams/stats?team=nyg 2006 New York Giants player stats] , espn.com, accessed March 21, 2007. ] and Jeremy Shockey led the team in receptions. Defensively the team struggled all season long with pass defense (28th in the league) and with gaining a consistent pass rush.

2007: Super Bowl Champions

As of 2007, the Giants have made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons. In a game against the Eagles on September 30th, 2007, the Giants tied the record for most sacks as a team in an NFL game, after sacking Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb 12 times, with 6 of these coming from Osi Umenyiora. In 2007 the Giants became the third NFL franchise to win at least 600 games when they defeated the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football 31-10. For the 2007 season, the NFL scheduled the Giants' road game against the Miami Dolphins on October 28 to be played in London's Wembley Stadium; this was the NFL's first regular-season game to be played outside of North America. The Giants defeated the Dolphins, 13-10. The Giants made the NFL Playoffs with a 10-6 record and played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Wild Card Playoffs. They avenged a third playoff loss from Buccaneers QB Jeff Garcia by beating them 24-14. Eli Manning earned his first playoff victory and Tom Coughlin picked up his first playoff victory as coach of the Giants. In the divisional round they defeated the first seed Dallas Cowboys by a score of 21-17 and advanced to the NFC Championship. They set the record for most consecutive road wins (10 with the NFC championship as of now) and as the first team to defeat the #1 seed of their division since the 1990 playoff re-alignment. In the NFC championship, the kicker Lawrence Tynes made a final field goal for a 23-20 overtime win over the Packers in Green Bay they headed to Super Bowl XLII.

In Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008, the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots 17-14. The arguably biggest play of the game was on third down on the Giants 44-yard line with 1:15 remaining. They were down 14-10 After the snap, Manning ran back and was surrounded by a cloud of defenders. Escaping three near sacks, he made a miraculous pass to David Tyree, who caught the ball against his own helmet, while being covered by veteran defender Rodney Harrison. This set up the Giants' final touchdown to win. Eli Manning was named MVP, completing 19 of 34 passes for 255 yards along with two touchdowns. The Giants pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history by handing the New England Patriots their first loss of the season. This prevented the Patriots from becoming the first 19-0 team in NFL history and joining the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the only teams to complete a perfect undefeated season. Plaxico Burress hauled in the game-winning touchdown pass with 35 seconds left to play to give the Giants the Super Bowl win and their first championship since Super Bowl XXV, when they defeated the Buffalo Bills 20-19. This game was also a rematch of their final regular season game, in which the Patriots came back from a 12-point deficit to finish the regular season 16-0.

Co-owner John Mara described the Giants' win in Super Bowl XLII as "The greatest moment in Giants history, without question" and dedicated the win to the Giants' loyal fans. A parade was held in the Canyon of Heroes of Lower Manhattan two days after the win, followed immediately by a victory rally across the Hudson River inside Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

ee also

*New York Giants seasons
*Logos and Uniforms of the New York Giants
*List of New York Giants players

References

External links

* [http://www.giants.com/history/index.html giants.com/history]


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